I’m excited to share this lovely review with you all of Hayley Goleniowska’s Talking About Down’s Syndrome Conversations for New Parents by Caroline Playle.
Caroline Playle is a Mum to three children. One of whom has Down’s Syndrome. When Seb was born she was shocked to be told he had Down’s syndrome. She knew nothing about the condition, aside from outdated assumptions and stereotypes, and was full of unnecessary fear of what the future had in store for her family.
The reality could not be further from that vision. Caroline and her family lead a typical life together, facing the same joys, wonders, challenges and experiences as any family. Caroline started sharing snapshot’s of their lives together to show that Seb is a typical six year old who attends mainstream school, loves reading, football, chips and ice-cream and hates having his hair washed. Caroline shares that her son is a reflection of his family and upbringing, he is not a list of characteristics in a textbook and he is more like their family than anyone else with an extra chromosome 21 .
What I love instantly about these new Fink Cards is their simplicity. The bold, confident colours and clear font makes them very approachable.
When I was told my baby had Downs Syndrome I threw myself into researching the condition. It was utterly overwhelming, so much information to take in at the same time as becoming a new parent. These Fink cards are absolutely perfect, they are beautifully concise and the card format means they can be taken in small chunks and you choose when and what feelings you wish to explore as and when you feel ready to take on more information. Plus we all know that talking helps with coming to terms with an out of the blue diagnosis. These cards encourage talking in a really gentle way. I can imagine these being so useful at support groups of parents with new babies, getting to know one another and sharing their experiences.
Best of all these cards are about YOU, YOUR baby and YOUR feelings. They are not telling you what will or will not happen, they are not filling your thoughts with all sorts of scenarios that may never come to fruition and they are not limiting your child or your child’s ability. This for me is the genius part of the idea. These cards allow you to explore your thoughts whilst keeping the focus on you and your child and not anyone else with Down’s syndrome.
My biggest regret when I was told my son had an extra chromosome 21was wrongly seeing him as “Down’s syndrome” instead of seeing him as my son. These cards will go a long way to allowing parents to take on board how they are feeling and where they are heading without the unnecessary fear and pressure of a stereotypical idea of what they might otherwise have thought lay ahead. I have no doubt this resource will go a long way to making sure new parents facing a diagnosis don’t miss out on precious, early moment by fearing an outdated or unknown future.
A really fantastic resource for any new parents faced with a recent diagnosis, their families, and medical and health professionals. I have even found them useful in exploring my own feelings, 7 years down the line!